User Type: Architects

Laying Porcelain Tiles Outdoors Using Rock Tite Exterior Porcelain & Stone System


Step by step guide to laying porcelain tiles outdoors

Recommended products

  • Rock-Tite Porcelain Primer
  • Rock-Tite Mortar / Rock-Tite Mortar Additive
  • Rock-Tite Brush-in Grout


  1. Dig out the area to be tiled, making sure it is stable
    It should be deep enough to allow for a compacted hardcore depth of 75mm to 150mm for patio flags/natural stone. Or 100mm to 150mm for porcelain tiles.
  2. Create a fall
    Set out the area to be tiled using a horizontal level line and a second sloped line to create a fall. The area should fall away from any property at a ratio of 25mm over a 1.5m length.
  3. Compact Type 1 or MOT grade hardcore making sure it is rigid and stable


  1. Use a mechanical mixer to mix Rock-Tite Mortar at a ratio of 3.75 litres water to 25kg powder
    Only mix enough enough to be used within the pot life of 60 minutes.
  2. Alternatively, use a mechanical mixer to blend a full 12.5kg of Mortar Additive with 75kg of sharp sand. Then add sufficient water and mix until smooth and lump-free
  3. Lay a solid bed of mortar
    A mortar thickness of not less than than 25mm may be used on to hardcore which is not less than 100mm deep.
  4. Pour cold water into the graduated mixing bucket to the correct level
  5. Gradually add the required amount of Rock-Tite Porcelain primer powder
  6. Mix the primer to a smooth lump-free slurry
    Only mixed enough to be used within the pot life of 60 minutes.
  7. Apply Rock-Tite Porcelain Primer to the back of the tiles using a brush or roller
    The primer must still be wet when laying into the mortar.
  8. Lay the tiles into the mortar
    Leave at least a 3mm joint width between the tiles.
  9. Once finished, allow to dry for 24 hours before grouting


The ground must be free-draining and the sub-base permeable.

  1. Wet the surface of the tiles and keep them moist throughout
  2. Make sure the joints are clean and dust free
  3. Brush the Rock-Tite Grout into the joints at 45-degrees using a long-handled brush
    Keep applying until the joints are filled and void free. Don’t allow the surface to dry out. Excess grout can be put into a tub and covered with water to at least 50mm above its surface, ready for use.
  4. Compact the joints and finish them with a jointing tool
    If voids appear, refill and refinish then brush off any excess grout.

Foot traffic is permitted within 24 hours.

Moss Bros

Moss, Canary Wharf

Men’s formalwear retailer Moss Bros Group knows how much impact looking good can make – so for their flagship Moss store at Canary Wharf there was no one better ‘suited’ to the job than Johnson Tiles and Norcros Adhesives.

The Moss store offers a new concept in suit shopping. As it was the first branch of the retail chain to combine all its services under one roof, it was also the launchpad for Moss Bespoke, a new high-tech tailoring service offering clients made-to-measure work and formal wear. Tailors input customer measurements and requirements into iPads, which are then sent direct to the manufacturers for delivery in six to eight weeks.

With such a high concept vision, it was vital that this was reflected in the look and feel of the store. To give the high-end yet durable effect needed, Johnson Tiles used two colours of its Arcade porcelain floor tiles in 600 x 300 size. As a unique feature, a proportion of the tiles were water-jet cut to 600 x 150, creating a tile feature design in the middle of the shopfloor.

The project, which totalled over 200m² of tiling, giving Moss the reassurance of a lifetime guarantee on the whole installation.

The products used included;

Marks & Spencer

Large format, unglazed porcelain tiles were used across all three floors of The Marks and Spencer Anchor store in Westfield shopping centre; London. As one of the largest shopping centres in Europe with over 9,500m² of retail space, a solid hard – wearing solution was required to withstand heavy foot traffic.

Using large format tiles can make it difficult to achieve solid bed fixing, which is essential in such a heavily trafficked area. To ensure that there would be no risk of impact damage, Norcros Thick Bed Stone and Porcelain Adhesive was specified.

Other products used on this project were Norcros Prime Bond and Norcros Flexible Floor and Wall Tile Grout.

Chelsea Flower Show

A stunning example of the outdoor use of tiles was the garden seat at Chelsea Flower Show. In order to ensure that the 800 individual porcelain tiles were firmly bonded to the exterior grade plywood structure, Norcros products including; Norcros Prime Bond, Norcros Thick Bed Stone and Porcelain Adhesive and Norcros Flexible Floor and Wall Grout were specified.

The combination of neutral coloured tiles and sharp, clean lines brought a highly – modern minimalist feel to the design. Combined with the beautiful, bright foliage surroundings; this provided an eye catching and unusual contrast.

Stafford Leisure Centre

Norcros products were used in the complete refurbishment of Stafford Leisure Centre. The new state-of-the-art leisure facilities include a 25 metre swimming pool, a teaching pool with movable floor, a pool hall and surroundings, as well as full changing, gym and beauty facilities.

The products used included;

All of the products used were highly polymer modified, ensuring that they would be capable of lasting in such a demanding environment.

McCarthy Stone

Due to these developments being elderly retirement villages, the provision of a sound reduction system to meet the relevant building regulations was essential. Norcros Acoustic Matting proved to be ideal, being Document E compliant and meeting all other requirements. The use of other products such as Norcros Wet Seal Tanking Membrane, Permalayer Anti-fracture Membrane in addition to the adhesives and grouts has enabled Norcros Adhesives to provide a fully guaranteed system and peace of mind to both McCarthy and Stone and its customers.